When psychologist Carl Jung described the qualities self-actualised people possess, he wasn't linking these traits to leadership. He did however retrospectively highlight the likes of Martin Luther King, Helen Keller and Gandhi as prominent figures who too personified the characteristics detailed below.
Self Actualised People Are:
Accepting of themselves & others.
Self-Confident but not self-centred.
Based in reality and place their focus there.
Satisfied with a few deep connections (have outgrown the need to be popular).
Not afraid to rock the boat.
Prone to peak experiences (seek risk).
In pursuit of knowledge.
Self-actualised people moreover, spend a significant amount of time in self-reflection; enabling ongoing, continuous improvement personally. This is aligned with Carol Dweck's concept of a growth mindset, which encourages individuals to regularly seek feedback and learn from their experiences. Dweck believes that the pursuit of knowledge is manifest in a hunger for learning; those with a growth mindset define success as getting smarter, as opposed to those with a fixed mindset who have the innate need to be right, all of the time. 1
For the sake of this post, we'll explore one of the qualities we can instantly begin to nurture ~ self-confidence.
Self-confidence despite its lack of theoretical support, is a component of self-efficacy, which is defined by Albert Bandura as "an individual's belief (or confidence) about his or her abilities to mobilise motivation, cognitive resources, and courses of action needed to successfully execute a specific task within a given context". 2 Simply put, self-efficacy is the belief one has in one’s abilities to thrive in a given situation.
According to Bandura, self-efficacy can be developed through mastery experiences, social modeling, verbal persuasion and psychological/physiological responses.
Translate these determinants into real-world applications and individuals & leaders can dominate if they:
Seek opportunities for performance attainment (through setting goals beyond skill-set)
Engage a mentor (with accomplishments who emulates self-efficacy)
Find a fan (someone who supports you, praises your efforts and truly believes in you)
Reframe stress. (get curious about the feeling and use it to your advantage) 3
Leaders can also embrace these concepts within the organisation and foster the strength of self-efficacy, which has been linked to improvements in performance, motivation and overall well-being. 4 Self-efficacy also sits within the Positive Organisational Behaviour model put forth by Luthans which further incorporates resilience, hope and optimism.
Stay tuned for part 2 which examines the trait of curiosity.
Contact Kirsten if you are looking to increase your leadership impact or seeking support through a positive change within your organisation.
1 Dweck, Carol S.. (2008) Mindset :the new psychology of success New York : Ballantine Books,
2 Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
3 McGonigal, K. How to make stress your friend. TED talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend
4 Luthans, F., & Youssef, C. M. (2007). Emerging positive organizational behavior. Journal of management, 33(3), 321-349.